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Is a high-yield savings account still worth it as inflation slows?

High-yield savings accounts are still a safe way to produce meaningful returns, even as inflation slows.  Getty Images

High yield savings accounts have been a hot topic of conversation as of late. After the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates over the past couple of years, returns on these accounts can be impressive as many of them offer rates at and above 4.25%

But, the Federal Reserve's aggressive rate hikes were in response to high levels of inflation - and recent data suggests that inflation is cooling. If inflation levels continue to dampen, there's a possibility that the Federal Reserve could reduce interest rates. A rate reduction would have a negative impact on savings returns. So, are high-yield savings accounts still worth it with inflation slowing? Or are savers better served looking elsewhere?

Open a high-yield savings account now to take advantage of today's high returns

Is a high-yield savings account still worth it as inflation slows?

The most recent inflation data suggests that the Federal Reserve's work to combat growth in consumer prices is starting to have an impact. The year-over-year inflation rate was 3.2% in October, down from 3.7% in September. Although a 3.2% inflation rate is above the Fed's 2% target, it does signal some slowing in economic activity - suggesting that the Fed's rate hikes have had a positive impact. 

Since inflation and the Federal Reserve's target federal funds rate often play a role in high-yield savings returns, many are wondering if it's still a good idea to open one of these accounts. The answer: a resounding "yes." Here are three reasons why a high-yield savings account still makes sense even as inflation slows.  

Returns on high-yield savings accounts are still impressive

Although slowing inflation has led to a pause in the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases, returns on high-yield savings accounts are still impressive. "While the current high-interest environment increases the cost of borrowing money, it is generally a good opportunity to invest in high-yield investments" like high-yield savings accounts, explains Isabel Fliss, financial advisor at McKague Financial in Livonia, Michigan. 

The simple fact is that while slowing inflation may lead to lower interest rates on high-yield savings accounts in the future, rate reductions haven't happened yet. Moreover, it could be some time until they do. After all, the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate is 2% and even after 11 rate increases and a bit of economic slowing, the current inflation rate is 3.2%. 

The reality is that the Fed will likely need to see inflation at or below 2% before they start to reduce the federal funds rate. That could take some time. So, high savings rates may be here to stay for a while

Open a high-yield savings account now to earn more interest on your idle cash

A high-yield savings account offers the liquidity you need for your emergency fund

If you're concerned about interest rates falling, it may be wise to put some of your savings into a long-term CD to lock in today's high returns. On the other hand, that's not something you can do with your emergency savings. After all, you'll need access to your funds if an emergency happens - and CD's don't provide that access. 

High-yield savings accounts are highly liquid. In most cases, you'll be able to withdraw money from your high-yield savings account up to six times per month. If you need to access your money more than this cap allows, you may be able to do so with a fee. So, a high-yield savings account is a compelling place to store your emergency fund in case you need money quickly.

High-yield savings accounts are safe

High-yield savings accounts are a type of deposit account. As such, as long as you open yours with a reputable financial institution, it should come with FDIC or NCUA insurance for balances up to $250,000. 

That adds a safety component to your savings. This insurance means that even if the financial institution you open your account with goes out of business, you'll get your money back through an insurance claim. 

Keep your emergency fund safe in a high-yield savings account now

The bottom line

There's rarely a time you shouldn't take advantage of a high-yield savings account. Even if interest rates were to fall dramatically, these accounts are likely to offer significantly higher returns than their traditional counterparts. Moreover, they offer the liquidity and safety you need for your emergency fund. If you're not already taking advantage of a high-yield savings account, it may be time for you to open one now.

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